People Are Using Coupons – But How Do They Get Them?

In a post I wrote in April 2009 titled Coupon Use Hits Early 1990’s Level I reported that coupon

There's a coupon in here somewhere!
There's a coupon in here somewhere!

redemption in the fourth quarter of 2008 grew nearly 10% compared to the fourth quarter of 2007.

In 2008 there was a 5% increase in the number of coupons made available to consumers for a total of 317 billion coupons. This distribution is not just up over the previous year, but is back up to levels from a decade ago.  If there are 330 million people in the US that would mean there were 960 coupons distributed per person.

Text messaging and email are quickly emerging as ways to obtain coupons in the US, with 8.6 million (8%) of the country’s households currently using one or both of these methods to receive money-saving offers, according to an analysis from Scarborough Research (pdf) that explores and ranks the ways households obtain coupons.

According to the study consumers who obtain coupons via text messages and/or email tend to be young, affluent, educated and female, the study found. Scarborough data revealed that they are 14% more likely than the average adult to be ages 18-24; 51% more likely to be a college graduate or have an advanced degree; and 6% more likely to be female.

Ways Households Typically Obtain Coupons (%)

  • Sunday newspaper 51%
  • In-store coupons 35%
  • Mail 31%
  • Preferred customer card/loyalty card    21%
  • In-store circulars 20%
  • Weekday newspaper 17%
  • Product packages 16%
  • Magazines 15%
  • Text Messages and/or Email 8%
  • Internet Sites    7%
    (Source: Scarborough Research, Scarborough USA+ Study, Release 2 2008)

It is interesting how often we read about the demise of the newspaper, but I forecast it will be many years before coupons distributed through text messaging and email come anywhere close to the levels of newspapers.

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